Becoming a mom is an incredible journey full of tears, joy, laughter, sleepless nights, and so much more. But you already know that as a mom. For those men in your life, watching them become a new dad is also an incredible journey.
Above all, I would have to say watching my husband become a new dad was the second craziest thing to happen to our marriage next to becoming new parents.
So here we are, already one year into this crazy new life of parenting. I’ve learned one of the best parts is watching the evolution of my husband becoming a new dad.
The very beginning
The process of my husband becoming a new dad began with our little one in the womb. My husband began his new dad role by talking to our baby while she was still in the womb, singing to her, playing music for her and rubbing my stomach when she kicked. I knew my husband was a softie sometimes, but I didn’t even know he could sing until I was pregnant with our daughter.
One immediate hurdle to overcome was my husband’s apprehension. He was terrified of the task ahead so in some ways, I felt like I had to be strong for him even though I was also intimidated. Really, what it came down to was my husband was my strength and I was his strength.
In the days, weeks, and months following the birth of our daughter, all three of us had to learn each other’s rhythms. It was all about learning which cry meant what, smelling diaper butts, and praying our little one would latch on to my breast. My husband took his new dad role seriously, but he would still want me to take her away from him when the cries turned into screams and she wouldn’t take the bottle.
It wasn’t all flowers and ponies, though. My husband and I struggled a lot. The more sleep we lost, the more we would argue and bicker.
We both missed our time with each other, but there was also no time to fix it. We would get quick “how was your day” and “love you’s” in conversations, but most of our focus was on our daughter and all the time and attention she required.
I also knew I hurt my husband a lot. There were so many emotions I felt at the same time and my hormones were all over the place. Sometimes he would be in the mood to have sex or talk once we got in bed at the end of the day, but I would be so exhausted all I wanted to do was go to bed and the same goes for the nights I wanted to talk with him or have sex.
The strain on our marriage was hard, but seeing the way each other loved our little girl made it easier. We both knew that’s what we were so focused on, and looking back over our past year of becoming a family of 3, I fully believe that’s the reason we survived.
Diaper Days and Certified Breastfeeding Coach
We were all in this together and deep down we all knew that. One of the most graceful roles of being a new dad that my husband excelled in was changing the diapers. The first diaper my husband changed as a new dad was done in a way so swiftly and flawlessly. It was a job he volunteered for and did without complaint.
One thing I was thankful for was the fact I was able to have a breastfeeding coach in this new dad. He hung on to every word the lactation consultant said and in the middle of the night when I would try to get our little one to latch, he stayed up with me, franticly googling solutions while our daughter screamed at the top of her lungs. Those moments of pressure and high stress seemed to wear on my husband and I think it had to do with the fact that often as a new dad, the baby wants mom so much.
Still, it was comforting to know he worried just as much as I did and that helped me push forward through the difficult moments of feeding and bottle transition.
Moment of Truth
I would have to say the moment I really realized I fell in love with this new dad all over again was the day our little one said her first word.
We were both running around busy one morning as our daughter sat in her high chair. She was banging her spoon on the tray and the dog was barking at her. My husband was late for work and got near the door to leave, but I watched him turn around and go up to our daughter one last time to make some silly faces and noises. It was in that moment, I heard her say her first word, “dada” and I thought my husband was going to cry.
She squealed with laughter as he attempted to “steal some of her sugar” on her belly. Watching my little girl’s new dad, I felt so much love and pride in my heart for my little family.
Yet just another example of how crazy my emotions were, all within the same day I became so mad at him for leaving me alone with our daughter. I was so upset that he had left me to deal with all the spills, the crying, the disastrous bathtime moments and so on while he was at work getting some alone time.
At times, I wanted to strangle my husband. I would get so angry at him and lash out because of little sleep or something small that would get on my nerves, but his love for me never wavered. I watched this new dad trade his Friday nights with his guys for a late-night wake up call from his daughter that it was time for the boob.
I watched this new dad come up with crazy ways of getting our little girl to eat her baby food. He would allow her to put little bows in his hair just for a small spoonful of carrots and peas.
I watched this new dad learn the theme song to Frozen and all the nursery rhymes then hum along to his favorite “new dad” songs in the car.
The Mushy Stuff
I watched our daughter wrap my husband around her finger. It got to the point where she would wake up at night when her dad got home from late nights at work and she would cry until he came to hold her and get her back to sleep. He really loved those moments with her and I gave them their time.
This new dad became my rock and my calm in all the storms life would bring in becoming new parents. I didn’t see it in the moment, but I fell so much deeper in love with him as he made my little girl laugh, and as she would reach past me for his hug and attention sometimes. Looking back on all the new dad moments he had, both mistakes and successes, I now realize he is the reason we made it.
He became a better parent than I had hoped he would be. We still struggle now a year into being a new mom and a new dad, but we have been able to connect with each other more and catch up now that our little girl is taking a bottle and sleeping more soundly through the night.
I learned so much about my partner in parenthood and the moment I realized that the best qualities of this new dad would be the best qualities of my daughter, I knew I was blessed beyond measure.
Now he says the new dad phase is gone and he’s ready for round two…